Microsoft planning on launching ultra-cheap laptops to compete with Chromebooks

microsoft chromebook comparison

One of Microsoft’s biggest threats has been Google’s Chromebook line. Chromebooks have been relatively cheap and functional, primarily using the Chrome web browser for “apps.” Since Google doesn’t charge high licensing fees for Chrome OS, and they’ve marketed the simplicity and virus-immunity heavily against traditional Windows laptops, Chromebooks have been steadily eating Microsoft’s laptop market share from the bottom up.
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Project Ara processors to be made by…Toshiba?


With Project Ara getting closer to its supposed release in 2015, many are wondering who will supply the parts for the devices. It turns out that the maker of processors for the device will be Toshiba, which is surprising considering the saturation of the market by the like of Qualcomm, MediaTek and Intel.

Toshiba will be providing three different processors for Google, for modules and for the phone itself. Reportedly, the partnership between the two companies started back in October 2013, resulting in the creation of chips that can “accurately control the flow of data and electrical signals between the modules and the phone itself.”

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Toshiba plans on bringing Project Ara to wearables


So far we have only heard of Project Ara smartphones, but couldn’t the concept also apply to wearables? According to Toshiba Senior VP and Technology Executive, Shardul Kazi, the answer is yes.

While at the Ara Developer Conference, Kazi showed the above slide that represents a module being removed from the phone and inserted into a smartwatch. At this point in the game, this is just a concept and not in development. Assuming consumers adopt this “module” way of thinking, you can clearly see that it’s inevitable that Project Ara could be used for so many other things, including wearables.

source: Engadget

Toshiba Chromebook now available for $299, some retailers for $279


The latest Chrome OS laptop to go on sale is the Toshiba Chromebook. Announced back in September, it is available through Toshiba’s online store or through some retailers including Amazon. If you choose to go with Toshiba’s online store, this Chromebook will set you back $299.99; however, Amazon is carrying it for $279.99. Inside is Intel’s Celeron Processor 2955U (Haswell). There are two USB 3.0 ports and one HDMI port. On the device’s page, Toshiba claims you can get up to nine hours of battery life. Not too bad, right?

Hit the source link if you are interested in picking one up. Remember, Amazon is selling it for $20 less!

Source: Toshiba, Amazon

Hands on with Toshiba’s entry-level Excite 7 tablet

Toshiba Excite 7

Toshiba’s latest stab at the budget tablet market is the Excite 7, a 7 inch tablet running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The biggest selling point of the Excite is its $99 price tag, which means you’re definitely getting $99 specs. It’s powered by a dual-core Rockchip CPU and 1 GB of RAM with a 1024 x 600 screen. The Excite has 8 GB of onboard memory, plus a microSD card slot. They’re not screaming specs, but the device runs relatively stock Android, so it’s not having to chug through unnecessary bloatware.

At first glance, the device really seems like it performs well for the price range and specs it has, which is always a good sign. You can watch our hands video past the break, and be sure to keep up with the rest of our CES coverage.
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Toshiba announces dual 5MP sensor camera module for smartphones, packs dedicated processing chip

dual 5mp

Toshiba is set to launch a brand new camera module with unique hardware which will refocus all of the photos you take on your smartphone. Known as the TCM9518MD, the module packs dual 5MP sensors and a separate processing chip which will capture all image and depth data in a picture. With this new technology, Toshiba says that consumers will soon be able to take pictures that are not currently possible with normal lenses.

The TCM9518MD is currently being shipped to phone manufacturers right now for testing, and the module should hit the market in devices within the next year (perhaps in the HTC One+).

Hit the break for the full press release, and remember to check out the rest of our CES 2014 coverage.

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Dual 5MP camera unit announced by Toshiba, will allow for stereo-3D shots for both smartphones and tablets


Toshiba is making waves in the smartphone camera industry, as the manufacturer just announced a dual-5MP camera module which generate a 13MP image through upscaling. With this development, the camera can be thinner than current 13MP cameras. Smartphones will be able to be made thinner as a result as well.

The dual camera unit also comes with a companion chip which will allow for the simultaneous recording of both image and depth information. The depth data will be applied to objects captured in the image— the result will be somewhat of a stereo-3D image.

While Toshiba hasn’t announced any particular release date on the module, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it and how smartphone manufacturers will adapt to the new camera technology.

Hit the break for the full press release below.

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Toshiba Excite 7 announced, available starting today for $170

toshiba_excite_7Toshiba has unveiled a new tablet that will put them back into the 7-inch market. The Excite 7 joins Toshiba’s Excite Pure, Excite Pro and Excite Write as their smaller sibling. Weighing in at 12.4 ounces, the Excite 7 packs a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM, 0.3MP front facing camera, and 3MP rear camera while Android 4.2.2 runs the show. Toshiba touts enhanced stereo speakers, 12 hours of general use / 7.5 hours of video playback, and microSD support. Toshiba’s Excite 7 is priced at $169.99 and is available today through Amazon and Toshiba’s website. But be aware that Toshiba has not made the device’s storage known just yet.

Japan Display announces 5.4-inch 543ppi screen for smartphones


After announcing a new 4K capable screen that could be used in a large tablet, Japan Display Inc. is back with another announcement from the FPD International 2013 event in Japan. This time, JDI announces a new 5.4-inch TFT LCD panel running at 1440×2560 resolution, giving it a resolution density of 543 pixels per inch. JDI says they have optimized power consumption and the physical size so it could be used in a smartphone. Since Sony is one of the partners in JDI, don’t be surprised to see one of their devices as the first to incorporate this new screen.

Along with the 5.4-inch size, JDI also introduced a 6.2-inch version capable of running at the same resolution. Due to the larger size, the pixels per inch figure drops to 473ppi, which is still quite impressive.

source: Japan Display Inc.
via: G for Games

Japan Display takes screen resolution to new level with 12.1-inch 4K display


A cooperative effort between Japanese companies Sony Mobile Display, Toshiba Mobile Display, and Hitachi Displays, collectively known as Japan Display Inc., has announced their success in producing a 4K resolution screen (3840×2160) in a 12.1-inch form factor. The screen uses TFT LCD technology to produce a 365 pixels per inch picture. According to JDI, they have also managed to control heat and power usage for the display and kept it thin enough so that it could actually be deployed as part of a consumer device such as a notebook computer or a tablet device. The product is being shown at the FPD International 2013 event in Japan this week.

Many people have expressed skepticism at the need for 4K resolutions on anything smaller than a large television, but it seems manufacturers are continuing to work on producing screens capable of this resolution in a mobile device. Do you think the market will reach the point where 4K capable devices are the standard?

source: Japan Display Inc.
via: Engadget